Welcome to the classroom 2.0

Kate Hampson

Gone are the simple days of blackboards and chalk, whiteboards and dry erase markers, and as it seems, pen and paper.

Just walking around a college campus will prove how much more technology is involved. There is hardly a class a student can go to where there isn’t at least one student with a laptop. But more than that, there are very few professors who don’t include technology in their classroom.

“Angel is much more advanced and organized that WebCT was, said Keith Rocci, information literacy librarian at the Mabee Library. “Professors can use many different features on the system that make an online class interactive. It is all about gaining a comfort level for the system.”

Technology is quickly advancing in the “real world” and it is also advancing in the classrooms at Washburn. It is the job of professors to prepare students for their future fields to be ready to work right out of college. Advancements in technology are happening so quickly it may be hard for professors to keep up but they are certainly trying.

“In most of my classes, there is something in the structure of the class that involves technology,” said Jordan Shefte, a junior mass media major. “My professors use PowerPoint, blogs, Angel and personal profile Web sites. They want to make sure I am showing future employers my resume and work.”

PowerPoint has been a staple in many classrooms for years now, however now the new versions allow for advanced features, such as embedded videos. YouTube, blogging and online homework have also become favorites of professors.

Computers are essential for college students; their own or the library’s. A lot of assignments are to be typed and/or turned in via e-mail.

“Students can always use the library to find references or to ask for help with technology that they may not understand fully,” said Judy Druse, assistant dean at Mabee. She also said that library can now rent laptops to students and they can use them anywhere in the library.

Mabee is a helpful resource for any student who may not catch on as quickly as a professor expects. Rocci said technology in the classroom is very important but so is personal contact with a professor. Students learn in different ways and getting both online and in class is a good balance.

“Technology is the wave of the future. Keeping up with technology is important because when looking for a job, people with knowledge of technology are going to have an edge,” said Rocci. “If you don’t keep up, you’ll get left behind.”

As technology plays a bigger and bigger role on campus, there are also more distractions in the classroom for students and professors alike. Texting and Facebook are the highlights of some students’ classroom experience. Some professors try to regulate it in the classroom by banning them or taking points from students who are using them. However, a lot of professors don’t think that it is worth their time to discipline the students if they are going to continue to use them.

As the struggle for a balance in technology and other forms of teaching takes place, students just try to keep pace. Students will need to learn how to use the ones that are necessary for passing the class and eliminate the ones that turn into a distraction in the classroom.